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PolylabelBarcode Types – European Article Number (EAN)

Barcode Types – European Article Number (EAN)



EAN was modeled after UPC and was established in 1977, for European countries of free economies. The original member nations included:
France, Germany, England, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Netherland and Austria. Japan and Spain joined the following year. Australia later joined in 1989.

Since then numerous other nations have joined from around the globe making it the most popular and standardized common product code in use today.
(See Flag for a list of member nations and their corresponding Flag codes.)

The name of management organization is EAN International, soon to become GS1.


EAN Code System

    Flag (nation code) 2 or 3 digits
    Maker Code 5 or 4 digits
    Item Code of the Product 5 digits
    Checkdigit 1 digit


Summary of EAN Symbol

    Character Set Numeric
    Code Type Continuous
    Length of symbol Fixed
    Self Check none
    Checkdigit Needed (modulus 10)
    Character Density 5.4 to 2.1 chars/cm


Character Composition

In EAN symbol, there are 3 types of characters to one numeric data.

  1. Left side Odd Parity
  2. Left side Even Parity
  3. Right side Even Parity

EAN Symbol expresses 13 digits by 12 characters. The first digit is called prefix, it has no character, but designated by the combination of Odd Parity and Even Parity, in the left 6 characters.
(See prefix)

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